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Pope & Young Now Ranks Velvet-Antlered Mule Deer Bucks

provided by John E. Phillips

Mossy Oak Pro Cody Robbins lives in an area that’s home to some of the best mule deer and elk hunting in North America. Most specifically, he believes, “Here in Delisle, Saskatchewan, we have bigger mule deer than you’ll find anywhere else.” Cody and his wife, Kelsy, host the TV show, “Live2Hunt.” He explains why he’s able to hunt some of the biggest mule deer in the mule deer’s home range. To learn more about Cody, visit his Facebook Page.

mule deer bucks

In the province of Saskatchewan, where I’ve lived all my life, the government doesn’t permit hunting by any aliens – out-of-country hunters. So, for that reason, there’s a huge lack of hunting pressure. Too, the mule deer in Saskatchewan have amazing genetics. With this combination, I believe that we have the perfect recipe for creating giant mule-deer bucks.

I’ve never been able to wrap my head around why the government doesn’t permit out-of-country hunters to come to Saskatchewan to hunt mule deer. In the province of Alberta, the government has structured its hunting regulations so that sportsmen from the U.S. can go there and hunt mule deer with the help of an outfitter. If Saskatchewan had that same stipulation in its hunting regulations, I’m sure that Saskatchewan could produce a tremendous amount of income for our province. However, I’m still happy that only the residents are permitted to hunt here because that makes hunting better for me.

Now don’t get me wrong; there are some big mule-deer bucks in Alberta. However, I believe that the quality of bucks we have here in Saskatchewan are some of the best there are. My biggest mule-deer buck scored 294-6/8 inches and is potentially the new world-record archery mule deer. The Colorado buck that Kenneth Plank shot in 1987 currently holds the world record for non-typical mule deer at 274-7/8 inches. When my buck was panel scored by three Pope & Young (P&Y) master scorers after the 60-day drying period, it netted 288 inches, which is more than the current world record. After the score was turned in, the officials told me, “For your buck to be the official Pope & Young buck taken with archery tackle, you’ll have to strip the velvet off the buck’s antlers.” Of course, I replied, “There’s no way.”

Having the world-record mule-deer buck taken with archery equipment is not nearly as important to me as keeping that animal exactly the same way he was when I harvested him. I still have the three-man panel score sheet in my desk from 2011. As of July 2020, I understand that Pope & Young is setting up a category to rank velvet-antlered mule deer. Now my mule-deer buck can be ranked by Pope & Young. I’ve decided to send off my score sheet to P&Y, so that he can be officially ranked in the record book. Since more and more bowhunters have learned that their best opportunities to take trophy mule-deer bucks is during early archery season in most mule-deer states, this classification is long overdue.

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